Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish that has always been popular amongst Asians, and many people are trying their hands at making it these days because of its health benefits. Kimchi can be eaten as a side dish or incorporated into other recipes like kimchi fried rice. I like eating Kimchi with rice and fish. Kimchi is a spicy dish, but there are Kimchi varieties that do not contain any chili pepper for those who want to eat it without the heat.
How to Make Kimchi
Making Kimchi at home is not difficult; you just need patience and follow the steps one by one. By making Kimchi at home yourself, you can control what goes in it, and you know the Kimchi you make is fresh. If there are special ingredients that you cannot find locally, like gochugaru or fish sauce, buy them online.
Ok, let’s get started! Here is a list of things that you will need:
- Kimchi ingredients (cabbage, salt, fish sauce, sugar)
- Mixing bowl (ceramic is preferred but not necessary)
- Knife & cutting board
- Airtight container (like a glass jar or Tupperware)
There are two methods to make Kimchi. The first one is the traditional way that Koreans have been doing for centuries, which is to pack Kimchi ingredients tightly inside a Kimchi container and let Kimchi ferment. Kimchi will continue to ferment until eaten.
The second way to make Kimchi requires the use of a Kimchi maker machine – it speeds up the fermentation process drastically so that Kimchi can be ready within 24 hours. The only downside is that you cannot control Kimchi flavors as much as when using traditional methods.
For those who would like to try making Kimchi using the first method, here are step-by-step instructions on how to do it:
- Get all your Kimchi ingredients together (cabbage, fish sauce, garlic, ginger, etc.) and set them aside in bowls according to the Kimchi recipe you are following.
- Cut the cabbage into strips, wash and drain well using a strainer.
- Add salt to the cabbage and massage it in so that the Kimchi juice starts coming out of the cabbage. Put a Kimchi weight on top to help extract Kimchi juice from the cabbage. Place a Kimchi container inside a large bowl if you want to catch Kimchi juices for later use.
- Mix fish sauce, garlic, ginger, sugar, and gochugaru together in a bowl to make Kimchi paste; add 1-2 tablespoons [of paste] [to taste] per pound of Kimchi ingredients (add more or less depending on your preference). Make sure all Kimchi ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
- Place Kimchi paste in the Kimchi container with Kimchi ingredients and mix it well so that Kimchi is thoroughly covered with Kimchi paste. Now it is ready for fermentation, which takes about 2-3 weeks. You can eat Kimchi after 1 week of fermentation if you want to but wait until 3 weeks of fermentation for optimal results.
- Remember to open your Kimchi container every day to let out carbon dioxide gas that forms during the fermentation process; this will help fermenting process without causing an explosion (yes it happened before).
When using the second method – using a Kimchi maker machine – there are no more steps involved; just make sure all Kimchi ingredients are already prepared and put them in the Kimchi maker machine according to its instructions. You can buy Kimchi maker machines for $5-10 at Amazon.com or other online retailers so they are not very expensive if you like Kimchi and would like to make it quickly at home.